Lobo fans were saying prior to this game. Thank goodness we have UNLV for the upcoming game we can roll them and get back on track… Well all 5 of the UNLV football fans were saying the same thing as both teams go into Saturday's game with below .500 record and struggling.
Donovan Porterie 1-0 as a starter
After the 1st quarter one in which RS-FR Donovan Porterie played well leading the Lobos to a pair of touchdown drives. No, not short yardage off turnover scores, but DRIVES… Including a nice dart to Thomas Wilson on a quick slant pattern where T-Will caught the ball with a Rebel defender all over him. All of a sudden Lobo things were looking spectacular for Lobo fans as Porterie was on, the offense was clicking, and the Lobo defense had crushed UNLV's spread offense and QB Rocky Hinds.
2nd quarter comes and Lobos have a comfortable 14-0 lead with UNLV bringing in their 2nd string QB Shane Streichen (who was their original starter)… Perhaps it was too comfortable as UNLV makes a serious run at the Lobo D. Scoring early in the 2nd quarter on a 30-yard TD. The Lobos get the ball back and Porterie throws an interception where the Lobo receiver broke his route off early but the ball was in the air.
Lobo D holds and the Lobos get the ball back. Unfortunately, Jordan Scott loses the handle on a punt, and when he gets it and tries to get it off, the Rebels are able to block it. UNLV promptly scores and it is all tied up.
All of a sudden the nightmare is on! As the Lobos do nothing with the ball and UNLV after a punt return hits slot receiver Ryan Wolfe on a 75-yard bomb, as the Lobo safeties look lost in the defense. UNLV found something that works. Hit the slot receiver after the LB's blitz and there is a monster soft spot in the defense. UNLV uses the same offensive move in their final offensive series in the 1st half marching down the field in a little less then 2:00 minutes to get the score to 28-14 and the party was on in Sin City.
At this time with UNM history in the 2nd quarter things were very quiet at SneakerZ. The Lobos had just been caught with a couple of haymakers and looked like they were down for the count. This team hasn't done much in the 2nd half this season so for most Lobo fans the thought of victory was thrown out the window…
2nd half starts with a little bit of apprehension from fans in SneakerZ. Of course we didn't have the benefit of a halftime talk by Rocky Long and staff as the Lobos come out for yet another scoring drive as the Lobos use the 3 headed monster of Ferguson, Epps and Baker and Porterie just misses Clayton Cardenas for a touchdown score forcing Kenny Byrd (MWC special teams player of the week?) to hit a 33 yard field goal.
DeAndre Wright Goes for the ball (AP)
The Lobo defense gets a feel of howling and the game as DeAndre Wright intercepts the ball giving the Lobos a short field. Unfortunately, the Lobo offense doesn't mount much of an attack and Kenny Byrd (MWC special teams player of the week) goes onto the field and punches in a 24 yarder!
The next series was awesome as Steichen who had torn up the Lobos dropped back and was quickly spun and flung by Lobo LB Aleem Harris for the sack. Steichen got up woozy, shaking his heads, wondering if UNLV had just won the Rose Bowl as the referee gave Steichen a standing 8 count and threw in the towel. Steichen was definitely knocked into next year.
Lobos get the ball back but mount no offense and back comes Steichen possibly still feeling the effects of his last hit as he drops back and sees a receiver on right side. What he didn't see however was Lobo LB Cody Kase who was cut on his pass rush and rather then continue with a blitz that would have resulted in nothing read the QB's eyes floated back in coverage and was able to tip the ball into his own hands for an int! Kase didn't give up on the play however as he took off towards the UNLV end zone eventually scoring on a 47 yard INT return. UNM went for the 2 pt. conversion that was promptly snuffed.
Lobos stuff UNLV get the ball back and march the ball down for yet another Kenny Byrd (MWC special teams player of the week!) 29-yard field goal.
UNLV gets the ball back and that swarming hitting Lobo defense comes up with another fumble as frosh Kendall Briscoe knocks the ball out of Steichen's hand. The Lobos take advantage of the turnover as Martelius Epps gets into the end zone and get the Lobos up to 8 (Lobo fans are nervous still. 8 point game? Should they have kicked that extra point and be up by 9 the game is over!)
Well if you weren't nervous yet… You should be as UNLV marches the ball down the field and scores a touchdown. All of a sudden a game of football comes down to a 2pt. conversion and UNLV converts easily to tie the score up and force the game into overtime.
Lobos get the ball first run to running plays… An incompletion and Kenny Byrd (MWC special teams player of the week!!) comes in and nails a 39-yard field goal to put UNM up in overtime with the UNLV offense, which has terrorized the Lobo defense coming on the field…
Steichen takes the snap rolls out and feels pressure from the backside so moves to his left and an unblocked blitzing Major Mosley hits Steichen and punches the ball loose! Bedlam at SneakerZ as the fumble goes way back and is eventually covered up by Michael Tuohy to preserve the win for the Lobos!
Thoughts on the game
I know. I know… It wasn't like it was drawn up, but the Lobos defeated a UNLV team and wins their first conference game!
Things I liked
Donovan Porterie in his 1st start for the Lobos was not rattled at anytime and while he did miss a couple o receivers at no time did he look nervous or out of control.
The Lobos took UNLV's best shots on the chin and looked within themselves and each other and found a way to victory! A maturity thing for a team that recently seemed to be finding way to lose games!
3 headed monster of RB's looks like it is back Ferguson, Epps, and Baker!
Things I Disliked
Don't fall asleep after you get the early lead. Put your foot on the neck and snap it!
Umm… Those slot receivers were nearly the Lobos undoing, as they seemed to be open every single time UNLV needed some yardage.
Offensive Player of the Game
#80 Kenny Byrd
During the Lobo post game show last night I named Donovan Porterie the offensive player of the game. I'm amending that today and naming The Pride of St. Pius High School from Albuquerque K Kenny Byrd! Byrd's numbers 4 field goals 24,29,33, and the game winning 39 yarder in overtime to go with 3 XP's.
Defensive Player of the Game
In a game where it was a total team effort for the defense with plenty making key plays. None in my mind was bigger then Aleem Harris coming from the backside and knocking the taste of out Steichen's mouth. It set a serious tone for the rest of the game and really rattled UNLV's QB.
Thursday night is Brian Urlacher night at Rocky Long Stadium. Hope to see you there! Also, don't forget Red Menace Radio from SneakerZ at 4100 San Mateo Blvd. NE on 1310 The Ticket right after the game!
Back in the day!
Photos courtesy of NewMexicoSportsNews.com, and AP.